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IBU wants lab data, increased testing to reinstate Russia

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BERLIN (Reuters) – The Russian Biathlon Union was on Thursday issued with set of criteria, including increased drugs tests and granting access to Moscow lab data, which it must fulfil to be reinstated as a full member of the sport’s international federation.

The RBU, currently a provisional International Biathlon Union member following a major doping scandal, was not given a deadline but a working group will be set up to monitor progress, IBU President Olle Dahlin told a conference call.

“They have a lot of homework to do,” he said after setting out the 12 conditions. “They now need to complete the criteria. If they don’t do it then it can take a long time for them to be full members.”

They included increased out-of-competition testing for Russian biathletes, mandatory anti-doping education and full cooperation with investigations into potential past doping violations.

The RBU must also allow access to stored data in the Moscow anti-doping lab, the same demand the World Anti-Doping Agency has been making to the Russian Anti-Doping Agency for several years.

In April, Austrian police raided IBU headquarters as part of an investigation into the organisation’s leadership that was linked to doping issues.

Police said that then-IBU President Anders Besseberg and Secretary General Nicole Resch were the focus of their investigation. Besseberg told Reuters at the time it was linked to inadequate follow-ups on suspicious doping samples and related issues.

Russia was banned by the International Olympic Committee from this year’s Pyeongchang Winter Games as punishment for alleged state-sponsored doping across many sports, including biathlon.

“This is a difficult situation,” said Dahlin.

“Russia is one of the largest biathlon nations in the world, but it is absolutely necessary to protect clean athletes and guarantee we do everything we can to ensure clean biathlon.”

The IBU will review progress at its congress next year before deciding whether to reinstate the RBU.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by John Stonestreet)

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